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By Jorge Munnshe

Michel Huygen (founder of Neuronium) and painter Tomás Gilsanz (author of the images that at times have accompanied the concerts of Neuronium, and the creator of some of the album covers of the band) have joined their talents to create a spectacular audiovisual CDROM, "Hypnotika Vol.1", recently released in a restricted distribution and with only a thousand copies, under the name of Neuronium and released by the label Oniria International. Michel Huygen has told us about this project during an interview.

Since the beginnings of electronic music and specially space music, many have been the followers who are convinced about the additional impact that this kind of musics has when they are complemented with the adequate images. If a composition suggests us a journey through unearthly universes, that sensation will be enhanced if besides listening to the music we see the landscapes that such a journey could bring to our eyes. The music videos visually based upon that kind of images are scarce. Most just gather live performances with a few surrealist images intertwined with the live takes. This is why, when an audiovisual work whose space character includes both the music and the image appears, this no doubt attracts the attention of the followers of avantgarde art.

"Alienikon" and "Aeternitas" are two movies (lasting about twenty minutes each), based on this concept. Huygen and Gilsanz respectively take care of the sound and the image.

Michel HuygenThe animations have been created by Gilsanz from paintings of his digitalized by himself. All kinds of visual effects scroll one after another. Landscapes passing before our eyes as if we were overflying them. Supernatural apparitions. Ghosthly metamorphoses. Wondrous worlds alien to anything known. And other effects hardly describable with mere words. Gilsanz knows how to play with psychology linked to visual perception. He makes, so to speak, us see the invisible, tricks us with his pictorial magic making us perceive things contrary to the laws of physics that govern the behavior of light as well as our perception of it.

The nature of the visual content of these two movies has a strong mystic component. The supernatural is present in almost all the sequences. The textures are oniric, as if the animations were the brain recordings of dreams. There also are remarkable psychedelic touches.

The music created by Huygen that serves as the soundtrack for these two movies acquires new shades and gathers new additional meanings as it is listened to while the images are contemplated. On his part, the visual universe of Gilsanz is enhanced by the great emotional strength of the music by Huygen, which emphasizes with a greater dramatic transcendence the different sequences.

The two long videoclips turn out to be ideal to let your mind fly with complete freedom and disconnect from everyday life for a while, something that no doubt many people look for in some moment of the day. Aware of that, Huygen and Gilsanz decided to choose the CDROM as the support for "Hypnotika" instead of the videotape, so as to make it easier for the viewer to access this brief evasion from the real world as one can use, to this end, for instance, the same computer one has been working with for hours on end, something more likely to be done during the worktime, rather than having a television and VCR. Another reason for this choice instead of the videotape was to take as much advantage as feasible from the possibilities offered by the multimedia that the CDROM provides, and in some way, support the artistic use of new audio formats, as for instance MP3. Huygen thought of using the DVD, a support he already works with, yet in the end he chose the CDROM due to the fact that at present the amount of CDROM readers is still quite larger than that of DVD reader units.

The use of the MP3 format has allowed, for example, to store in Hypnotika" 70 minutes of music without pauses that adds to the one acting as soundtrack for both movies.

The music contained in one or another way in this CDROM includes stellar pieces of the entire career of Michel Huygen. Pure electronic music in its most cosmic face, rising in its full space splendour, with lively, fresh melodies, brimming with feelings, at times introspective.

Tomás GilsanzMichel once again impresses us with his graphic design for the cover of the CDROM. An enigmatic figure of icy tones and diffused contours, as if it were the gas of a nebula, presides the front cover over a black background. As in other visual creations of his, Huygen transmits some very definite meanings, yet he also deliberately leaves an open door to the imagination of the observer. In the first instance, he has re-created with great subtlety two arms that shake hands around a beating heart, while at the same time the entire design presents the aspect of a spaceship. In the second instance, as many things as the imagination of a person is able to produce can be likewise seen. An alien face, the head of a magic serpent, the arm of a ghostly old record player,or a supernatural lamp whose bulb emits spiritual light, are some of the uncountable interpretations that can stem from this image. The symbol in question is bound to become an insignia for the oniric worlds of Michel Huygen since, as he tells us, he is planning to use it as a logo for future releases.

The work of Michel has extended as well to the programming of the CDROM. For this project, there has also been the collaboration of Toni Brunet as executive producer.

This CDROM is for a PC, and requires the following minimal technical characteristics in the equipment where it is going to be used: Pentium II 300 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, DirectX 6.0, a CDROM reader (minimum 4X) It is possible to copy the entire contents from the CDROM to the hard disk to solve the jumping of images that is caused by slow readers.

An important technical detail of this CDROM is that Huygen decided that the units were manufactured with a special protection system to prevent illegal copies. With respect to the controversies that lately are abounding about the intellectual property of music in internet, the MP3 format, or the trajectory followed by Napster, Huygen defends the good use of any new technology, as he shows n his inclusion of 70 minutes of music in the MP3 format within "Hypnotika Vol. 1". Yet he believes that the pretension to have all music forcibly made to run freely in the web is absurd, since, as is logical, this would attack musical creativity while forcing the artists to stop being artists to take care of other jobs to be able to eat. "I would like to see how those who defend this gratuity would react if someone intended for them that they earned no money at all from their jobs from which they earn they living now" comments Huygen.

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